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Zelenskyy's office explains how Azovstal defenders were brought back: results of negotiations

Saturday, 8 July 2023, 19:29
Zelenskyy's office explains how Azovstal defenders were brought back: results of negotiations

Five commanders from Azovstal Iron and Steel Works were brought back to Ukraine on Saturday following negotiations with Türkiye.

Source: Zelenskyy's website

Azovstal defenders coming back
All photos from Office of the president

Quote: "As a result of the negotiations with the Turkish side, Ukraine brought back to their homeland the military – defenders of Azovstal [steel plant]: Commander of the Azov special operations unit of the National Guard, Hero of Ukraine Denys Prokopenko, his deputy Sviatoslav Palamar, acting Commander of the 36th Marine Brigade Serhii Volynskyi, Senior Officer of the Azov unit Oleh Khomenko, and Commander of the 12th Brigade of the National Guard Denys Shleha."


Details: Reportedly, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy met the defenders at the Istanbul airport and congratulated them on their return.

"I congratulate you! You are our heroes. I am very glad of your return to your homeland. Glory to Ukraine!" he said.


On board, Zelenskyy talked with the defenders of Azovstal and thanked them for their courage and resilience.


Background: Earlier on Saturday, Zelenskyy reported that military commanders who defended Azovstal Iron and Steel Works and then stayed in Türkiye after being released from Russian captivity as part of an exchange are returning to Ukraine from Türkiye.



  • On 21 September 2022, as part of a PoW swap with the Russian occupiers, Ukraine succeeded in freeing 215 Ukrainian defenders, including Denys Prokopenko, aka Radis, Serhii Volynskyi, aka Volyna, Svyatoslav Palamar, Denys Shleha and Oleh Khomenko – unit leaders of the defence of Azovstal. Ukrainian businessman and pro-Russian politician Viktor Medvedchuk, to whose daughter Putin is godfather, together with 55 Russian occupiers had been returned to Russia.
  • Five Azov Regiment leaders were in Türkiye under personal guarantees of protection and security from President Erdoğan.
  • Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said that Ukraine’s agreements with Russia stipulate that the five leaders of the Azov Regiment who were released as part of the prisoner exchange on 21 September will remain in Türkiye until the end of the war.
  • In May 2023, Kateryna Prokopenko, founder of the Association of Azovstal Defenders’ Families and the wife of fighter Denys "Redis" Prokopenko, said that the Azov commanders in Türkiye live in a closed facility but have access to information.

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